Thursday, March 29

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.

—Philippians 2:5-7a

In his book The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen recounts a story that was told in the Talmud. Rabbi Yoshua ben Levi asks Elijah the prophet when the Messiah will come. Elijah tells the Rabbi to go himself and ask the Messiah, who is sitting at the gates of the city. When Rabbi ben Levi asks how he will know the Messiah in the crowd at the gates, Elijah replies, “He is sitting among the poor covered with wounds. The others unbind all their wounds at the same time and then bind them up again. But he unbinds one at a time and binds it up again, saying to himself, ‘Perhaps I shall be needed: if so I must always be ready so as not to delay for a moment.’ ”

In this story, reading Jesus as the wounded healer, we see that the Messiah is not aloof or untouched by the wounds of this world. God is not too far away to see our wounds. In fact, God sits amongst us and is wounded as we are.

This Jesus—this Messiah who is suffering with us, even in the midst of his own suffering and woundedness—is there to offer forgiveness, to offer healing, to offer restoration. This confronts us with a different reality, because we are far too concerned about being whole, about being perfect, about knowing everything, about being in just the right place at just the right time before we can offer healing to someone else.

We all have wounds. We all have wounds that are bound as the wounded healer’s are bound. And it is time for us to learn to unbind them one at a time and bind them up again, instead of unbinding them all and waiting for that time when we are whole again.

—Lisa C. Flores


2012 Lenten Meditations, Episcopal Relief and Development

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